Posted by Sandra Wood on 15 April 2020
Being well has been at the front of all our minds through the weeks of the lockdown and the Coronavirus outbreak.
Above all – it has been the extraordinary work of health care professionals in the NHS – the people who help us get well that has been celebrated and applauded. For me it is that amazing combination of technical medical knowledge and the capacities of the heart: compassion, empathy and caring which is so humbling. As ever, people have taken to art to acknowledge that work, rainbow pictures in windows, songs online. Our shared culture is a way for communities to respond at a time of anxiety, and sadly for increasingly many, a time of grief.
But what does it mean to be well? This is the question that Morecambe Bay’s Executive GP for Lancashire North Clinical Commissioning Group Andy Knox asked at TEDxNHS. The video of his wonderfully inspiring talk is at the bottom of this blog. His point was that we need to focus on building a culture of real wellness in our communities as the route to tackling the health inequalities in the UK.
What was an aspirational point in 2019, is now keenly needed and obvious in 2020. One of the things that the COVID19 crisis has laid bare is that for us to be well requires a whole society effort. We are all connected, and inequalities that impact others still directly affect us all.
At More Music we always have tried to have this in mind. Through the Seagull Café sessions for over 60s combatting isolation. Through amplifying the voices of young people to address and celebrate wellbeing through the creative arts at events like Chameleon. By championing accessibility to our sessions and in the functioning of our building. Through hosting baby weigh in sessions and mental health support. Through running singing for health sessions and workshops.
Not all of this work is easy, or immediate. That’s why we have been working along side funders Spirit of 2012 and facilitating research in to music and health with York St John University. There is much for all of us to discover how this work can be more effective and reach more people, even in a time of lockdown. But it is part of building that culture of real wellness that GPs like Andy are appealing for. A vision of a shared society needs shared communication and strong communities.
Andy Knox appeals for Hope, Inclusivity, Joy and Kindness. It’s heartening to hear a doctor see these as vital – it sounds like the kind of thing an arts organisation might appeal for. Let’s be well, together.